WHAT COULD BE BE HIDING BEHING HOARSENESS?
Occasionally a hoarse voice can be considered attractive, but sometimes it could be the indication of a related health concern. The organ producing human voice is called the larynx and it participates in three major bodily functions: vocalisation, swallowing and breathing. The main anatomical component of the larynx consists of the vocal cords: two white membranes oscillating and touching each other so as to produce a loud and clear voice.
Any infection of the pharynx, the larynx or even the nose can affect the voice quality, causing hoarseness. A frequent condition affecting patients is acid reflux, which can cause a chemically induced type of laryngitis, sometimes impairing the voice quality; the same goes for smoking (active and passive), air conditioning, inhalation of irritants and many other external factors. Additionally, talking loudly, particularly in noisy venues, can damage the vocal cords, resulting to hoarseness, dry cough and other symptoms, such as voice crack and globus sensation. The most common vocal cord disorders are polyps, cysts, nodules, Reinke’s edema, granulomas and, more rarely, cancer.
Surgery can be performed either by standard techniques or by using various laser procedures, which are a lot less traumatic for the sensitive mucosa of the vocal cords. Laser treatments have revolutionised laryngeal surgery, because they allow for the pathology, benign or malignant depending on the stage of the disease, to be removed without external incisions. Laser is used on many benign conditions such as cysts, polyps, Reinke’s edema, vocal papillomas, vocal fold paresis and benign tumours, but it has also radically changed the treatment of pharynx-larynx-hypopharynx malignancies. An important advantage of the laser treatment, when dealing with cancer, is that the surgeon can perform a fast-track biopsy and, depending on the results, opt to proceed to immediate removal. The use of the Laser ensures an outstanding healing, so that swallowing and vocalisation won’t be particularly affected. It deters the oedema, thus averting the need for a tracheotomy and also reduces the risk of bleeding. The surgery is performed under general anaesthesia and with the use of a specialised tracheal tube. The Laser device connects to the surgical microscope and a specialised microcontroller allows us to select the parameters for the beam, depending on the particularities of the spot we need to approach.
Laser treatments are an incredible medical weapon when dealing with benign conditions and the early stages of pharynx and larynx malignancies.
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